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Job 7:1 Isn’t a man forced to labour on earth? Aren’t his days like the days of a hired hand?- LXX "Is not the life of man upon earth a state of trial?"; GNB "Human life is like forced army service, like a life of hard manual labor".

Isaiah’s prophecies of the restoration and the Kingdom are shot full of allusions back to Job. The cry that Zion’s warfare or “appointed time” is now ended (Is. 40:2) is taken straight out of Job 7:1; indeed, Job 7:3-7 describes Job’s haggard life in the same terms as Israel in dispersion are described in Isaiah 40. The point being, that Job’s eventual re-conversion and salvation is a pattern for that of all God’s people.
Job came to recognize that every moment he existed was a trial to him, sent by his satan-Angel. Thus he complained "Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?" (7:1). The Hebrew for "appointed time" is exactly the same as for "host" as in hosts of Angels. This neatly connects the idea that the exact duration of his life was controlled by God's Angel-host, as was every trial which he experienced. This would be the work of the "wonderful numberer" Angel of Dan. 8:13 who controls all time periods. Job 14:13,14 says the same: "O that Thou wouldest hide me  in the grave... if a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come". "What is man that Thou dost magnify him? and that Thou shouldest set Thy heart upon him? (lit. 'consider him')" (7:17). Thus Job sees God- whom he probably conceived of as an Angel- as considering him, whilst we are told earlier that satan was told to do this. A human satan considering Job would not in itself have brought the trials, and Job would not have complained so bitterly about a human being considering him. An Angelic satan setting his heart upon Job would account for this 'considering' alone leading to the trials. If it is argued that it is a human satan who set his heart on Job here in Job 7, then the context is hard, though not impossible, to square: "Thou dost magnify man... Thou preserver of men" (v. 20,21). There is some hint of physical movement by 'God' which would seem applicable to the Angel too: "Thou shouldest visit him... depart from me... let me alone" (v. 18,19).

Job 7:2 As a servant who earnestly desires the shadow, as a hireling who looks for his wages-
I noted on Job 6:10 that Job felt that he was owed wages for his good works and teaching of God's word before his calamities began. He moves on from just wanting death to concluding that righteousness must have a reward; and if not in this life, then it must come at some point after life ends. This becomes developed into a belief in a day of judgment and the final manifestation of God. And this happens ahead of time, as it were, in Yahweh's final manifestation at the end of the book; but this lead Job to resign all his own righteousness.

Job 7:3 so am I made to possess months of misery, wearisome nights are appointed to me-
It is unlikely that Job's period of affliction lasted more than a year or so, and yet this is the part of his life and spiritual growth that is presented to us in such detail. At times Job thinks that he is likely to die that night; here he seems to imagine death coming after "months" of such nights. This is a realistic psychological picture of a suffering man.

Job 7:4 When I lie down, I say, ‘When shall I arise, and the night be gone?’ I toss and turn until the dawning of the day-
This is clearly the spirit of Dt. 28:67 "In the morning you will say, I wish it were evening! and at evening you will say, I wish it were morning! for the fear of your heart which you shall fear and for the sight of your eyes which you shall see". Job is clearly representative of Israel in their suffering.

Job 7:5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust. My skin closes up, and breaks out afresh-
The crusts forming over the sores appeared as "clods of dust", driving Job to appreciate his humanity as mere dust and ashes. The disease sounds like leprosy or elephantiasis, and connects him with the suffering Judah of Is. 1:6. Worms are typically associated with the decaying of a dead body, so it was as if Job experienced a living death.

Job 7:6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope-
Originally, Job believed that his "hope" was predicated upon his upright ways (Job 4:6). But Job through his sufferings comes to feel he now has no "hope" (Job 7:6; 14:19; 17:15; 19:10). The friends suggest that Job had only the "hope" of the hypocrite, and this "hope" would perish (Job 4:6; 8:13; 27:8). Job had integrity, and on that basis he thought he had "hope". He suffered, and he lost that "hope", because he assumed that his sufferings meant that he was not in fact righteous. And yet he often reflects that he is righteous and is suffering unjustly. And so he is led to the realization that the "hope" of the righteous is by God's grace and not because of the "integrity of [Job's] ways". Judah in captivity likewise lost their "hope" (Ez. 19:5; 37:11). But the message of the restoration prophets was that "there is hope in your end" (Jer. 31:17); they were prisoners or exiles in "hope" (Zech. 9:12).

Job 7:7 Oh remember that my life is a breath. My eye shall no more see good-
It's unclear whether this is addressed to the friends or to God, although I suggest on :8 that it is primarily God whom he has in view. Whatever, he is asking for pity to be shown to him because he has no "good" in front of him and his life is so short. See on Job 8:2. 

Job 7:8 The eye of him who sees me shall see me no more. Your eyes shall be on me, but I shall not be-
Again it is hard to know whether Job addresses God, "Him who sees me", or the friends, "your eyes...". He goes on to address God in :12. He thinks that because his own eye shall no longer see (:7), therefore their eyes would not see him. Job often refers to God's eyes, perhaps a reference to the Angels, who I suggested were representing the satan figure (the friends?) in the court of heaven; see on Job. 1:6. But he was to be taught that God doesn't see as man sees; our vision is not His.

Job 7:9 As the cloud is consumed and vanishes away, so he who goes down to Sheol shall come up no more-
That was how he felt, although already he has hinted that there must be a day of future reward after his death; and this becomes developed into a belief in a day of judgment and the final manifestation of God (Job 19:25-27).

Job 7:10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more-
That is true, in that there is no disembodied existence after death, and the dead don't return to haunt where they had once lived. This belief in the mortality of man was in sharp distinction to the beliefs of the primitive people amongst whom Job lived, and such understanding of death as unconsciousness and inactivity has always been characteristic of God's true people.

Job 7:11 Therefore I will not keep silent. I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul-
Job fell into the trap of thinking that his terrible situation somehow allowed him to speak whatever words came into his head. Job felt he hadn’t been ‘fed’ and so he was entitled to “bray” and “low” over his misfortune (Job 6:5). Because of the weight of his sufferings, he thereby justified the fact that "Therefore have my words been rash (Job 6:3). Likewise “Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit” (Job 7:11). “I will give free course to my complaint. I will speak in the bitterness of my soul” (Job 10:1 RV). Zophar criticizes Job being “full of talk” and speaking “the multitude of words”, “for thou sayest, my doctrine is pure” (Job 11:1-4)- as if Job felt that because he held true doctrine he was justified in pouring out words as he did. “Why should I not be impatient?” (Job 21:4 RV). “Today is my complaint bitter. My stroke is heavier than my groaning” (Job 23:2)- i.e. his complaining was due to his sufferings. “If I hold my peace, I shall give up the spirit” (Job 13:19 RVmg.). Job felt that the situation he was in forced him to use the words he did, and certainly justified it [we may well have used this reasoning ourselves when justifying the use of bad language]. But in the end, Elihu on God’s behalf rebuked him for his wrong words. And Job himself recognized: “I am vile. I will lay mine hand upon my mouth” in regret of his words (Job 40:4). “Wherefore I loathe my words and repent” (Job 42:6 RVmg.). He realized his mistake: he had thought that the situation justified his words. Now he hung his head and admitted that there was no justification for speaking in the way he had. Especially in the matter of the tongue, we can so easily justify ourselves; ‘I only said / did it [or didn’t do it] because…’. And it is all so child-like. Once we leave off all attempts at self-justification, we will face up to our sins. See on :20.

Job 7:12 Am I a sea, or a sea monster, that You put a guard over me?-
There are several allusions in Job to Babylonian legends concerning Marduk – indicating that the book must have been re-written in Babylon with allusion to these legends. Thus the Enuma Elish 4.139,140 speaks of how Marduk limited the waters of Tiamat, and set up a bar and watchmen so that the waters wouldn’t go further than he permitted. But this very language is applied to God in Job 7:12 and Job 38:8–11. One of the purposes of Job was to urge Judah that Yahweh was greater than Marduk, He and not Marduk was to be Israel’s God.

Job 7:13 When I say, ‘My bed shall comfort me. My couch shall ease my complaint’-
Sleep was no way of temporary relief. If indeed he had elephantiasis as suggested on :5, then this sleeplessness and psychological disturbance was associated with that disease.

Job 7:14 then You scare me with dreams, and terrify me through visions-
"Scare" is the word elsewhere translated 'dismay', and is used of how the exiles were urged not to be dismayed but to believe that God would indeed bring them from exile to restoration in His restored Kingdom (Is. 51:7; Jer. 30:10; 46:27). Job begins by being dismayed / scared (Job 7:14), but develops to not be dismayed (Job 31:34 s.w.), following the example of the Lord's battle horse (Job 39:22).

Job 7:15 so that my soul chooses strangling, death rather than to see my bones-
Clearly Job was suicidal although he later keeps himself in check, and instead pesters God to take his life. The agony in Job's bones looked forward to the experience of the Lord on the cross, where He saw His bones sticking out as He looked down upon them (Ps. 22:17).

Job 7:16 I loathe my life-
This is the same word as "cast away". The grace of it all was that although he wanted to cast away his life (Job 7:16; 9:21), just as God's people cast away His covenant (Is. 8:6; 30:12; Jer. 6:19), God would not cast away His people in their exile and depression (s.w. Lev. 26:44), even if they cast him away. Job felt despised or cast away by God (Job 10:14) just as the exiles did, but this wasn't the case; God will not despise or cast away His servant people (Job 36:5; Is. 41:9; Jer. 31:37; 33:26).

I don’t want to live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath- Continually, Job sees God and not any cosmic, evil 'Satan' figure as responsible for his sufferings. His momentary desire not to live forever suggests he knew that eternal life was on offer, but like the exiles, the weight of his sufferings caused him to lose interest in that hope. However we can understand him as meaning that he didn't want to live forever in this life, as he was.

Job 7:17 What is man, that You should magnify him-
Job was aware of the promises to Abraham, and he uses the same word used of how the name of Abraham and his seed would be magnified (Gen. 12:2; 19:19). But in his depression and suffering, he didn't want this, just as the exiles didn't. They too had to be reminded that God would magnify Himself through them (s.w. Ez.  38:23; Joel 2:21; Mal. 1:5) just as He finally did through Job.

That You should set Your mind on him- "Hast thou considered (lit. 'set your heart upon') My servant Job..?" (Job 2:3 AV) God asked satan initially. Later Job complains to God "what is man, that You should magnify him?  that You should set Your mind on him? (lit. 'consider him')". Thus Job sees God- whom he probably conceived of as an Angel- as considering him, whilst we are told earlier that satan / the adversary was told to do this. The  human satan considering Job would not in itself have brought the trials, the Angel representative of the Satan did;  Job would not have complained so bitterly to God about a human being 'considering' him. See on Job 1:6.

These words are quoted and reinterpreted by David in Psalm 8. Instead of remaining awed by man's smallness, David sees the huge potential that there is in being man- to be lord of all creation. Just as he had been exalted through his faith that he could conquer Goliath, so could all men be, if they are men as God intended. And as Paul shows, this has already been exemplified in the glorification of the Lord Jesus. We are not therefore to wallow in the smallness of humanity but to glory in our potential. We who are "babies and sucklings", so weak and vulnerable, gurgling and muttering incoherently, can utter perfect praise; and be lords of heavens, sea and earth. The Son of Man has shown us the path to that glory, having been one of us, of our nature. That fact shows us what it is and what it can be to be human, and for all time shows the potential within man. This is the answer to the question "What is man?". This is not so much a lament of man's smallness, weakness and vulnerability, although on one level it is that; rather is it a rhetorical question, the answer showing us what great potential there is for man who believes as David did. Likewise "What [or 'who'] is... the Son of Man...?" is answered in the achievment and person of the Lord Jesus. "What is the Son of Man?" leads to the answer: "The son of God". David's question is in fact a reply to Job's depressed statements about man in Job 7:16,17: "I loathe my life. I don’t want to live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath. What is man, that You should magnify him, that You should set Your mind on him". David is showing that man is so much more than Job's view here, in depression, that man is nothing and better off dead than alive.

Job 7:18 that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment?-
God is involved "every moment" in the life of His people; Job, presented as the suffering exiles, came to realize this (Is. 27:3 cp. Job 7:18 s.w.).God watered His vineyard "every moment" (Is. 27:3 s.w.). The testing "every moment" was the struggle of the exiles, resolved in the promise of Is. 54:7 "For a small moment have I forsaken you; but with great mercies will I gather you". But even in this small moment, He was watering them and caring for them.

Job 7:19 How long will You not look away from me, nor leave me alone until I swallow down my spittle?-
Again Job connects the eyes of God with his sufferings, asking God to look away from him, to thereby end the sufferings. And the eyes of God were His Angels, representing the Satan in the court of heaven (Job 1:6).

Job 7:20 If I have sinned, what do I do to You, You watcher of men?-
Job is full of self justification, as noted on :11. He now argues that the vastness of God means that He shouldn't be so sensitive to human sin. We marvel at God's total justification of Job, His imputation of righteousness, when He later states that Job had spoken rightly about Him (Job 42:7,8; although that statement may simply refer to Job's repentance). "You watcher of men" is yet another reference to God's angel-eyes every watching and noting sin; see on :19. But the idea is equally as AV "preserver" or 'keeper'. He didn't want that preserving or watching in his depression, as the exiles didn't; but the promise of the prophets was that God was indeed watching / preserving, in order to restore them- just as He did with Job (s.w. Is. 42:6; 49:8; Jer. 31:6).


Why have You set me as an archer’s target for You, so that I am a burden to myself?- Eliphaz blames Job's troubles upon the “sons of Resheph” (Job 5:7); but Job’s response is that the source of the evil in his life is ultimately from God and not any such being. Eliphaz there speaks of how man’s trouble comes “as the sons of Resheph fly upwards”. Resheph was known as “the lord of the arrow” and the Ugaritic tablets associate him with archery (William J. Fulco, The Canaanite God Resep (New Haven, CT: American Oriental Society, 1976)). We would therefore be justified in reading in an ellipsis here: man’s trouble comes “as the [arrows of] the sons of Resheph fly upwards”. Job’s response is that “The arrows of the Almighty are in me” (Job 6:4), and he lament that God is an archer using him as his target for practice (Job 7:20; 16:12,13). Job refuses to accept Eliphaz’s explanation that Job is a victim of Resheph’s arrows. For Job, if God is “the Almighty” then there is no space left for Resheph. Each blow he received, each arrow strike, was from God and not Resheph.

Job 7:21 Why do You not pardon my disobedience, and take away my iniquity?-
Job argues as if God can just do this anyway; but he fails to appreciate the role of repentance. And this is a major theme of the book, and a meaning of the very name "Job".

For now shall I lie down in the dust. You will seek me diligently, but I shall not be-  Job expected his death to come at any moment (AV "Thou shalt seek me in the morning"). He felt that death would mean that no matter how hard God searched, He would not find Job. But Job was to be taught that God is the God of resurrection and final judgment, and therefore death is no escape from Him.